Though overstuffed with obscure allusions and unnecessary infodumps, this series opener is pleasurably packed with clever,...

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RAISING ARCADIA

From the Raising Arcadia series , Vol. 1

A 16-year-old girl detective stars in a mystery paying tribute to Sherlock Holmes.

Arcadia Greentree is a white, clever, middle-class scholarship student at a school for England's upper crust. She's not popular with either classmates or staff; is it because of her cold mannerisms, her conviction that she knows better than her teachers, or her penchant for offering unsolicited advice based on careful observation? Arcadia's content with her studies, the mysteries she unearths, and with the Saturday puzzles her mother gives her (each provided with enough information for readers to solve, followed by a clearly explained solution). Nonetheless, she's concerned about the unknowns within her own school: students behaving strangely, cameras watching the students' every move, a secret door in the headmaster's office. Something unsavory is happening, and Arcadia's parents are in danger. Sherlock Holmes parallels abound. Some, such as Arcadia's violin, will be recognizable to readers who've absorbed Holmes in popular culture. Others, including character and place names taken from lesser-known short stories or Arthur Conan Doyle's life, provide more fan service for adult Sherlock-ians than for young readers not so entrenched in the minutiae of Great Detective trivia.

Though overstuffed with obscure allusions and unnecessary infodumps, this series opener is pleasurably packed with clever, solvable, well-explained puzzles; hits the spot for a mystery lover . (Mystery. 12-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-981-4751-50-6

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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This series opener won't win any prizes, but it will appeal to those who want puzzles and action mixed with their fashion...

THE CONSPIRACY OF US

From the Conspiracy of Us series , Vol. 1

A friendless teen discovers she's the key to a millenia-old epic prophecy—making her an invaluable pawn of the world's great powers.

Sixteen-year-old Avery West has a Plan: don't make friends, so as to remain unhurt when she inevitably has to change schools. Her single mother is a military contractor (something to do with a mandate), and Avery never lives anywhere long. At least Avery's learned to hide her violet eyes behind colored contacts, so she's only friendless instead of mocked. Avery's plan doesn't take into account the two gorgeous young men who appear fascinated with her: suave Jack and scruffy Stellan. The boys insist they're taking her to meet long-lost family and whirl Avery across the Atlantic to Paris (an unplanned trip about which she's remarkably sanguine). There, she learns of a conspiracy almost as old as Western civilization. Political leaders, actors, sports heroes and businessmen have come from just 12 families for nearly 2,000 years. Avery's place in all this has to with a prophecy called, surprise surprise, the mandate. Avery's thrust into a cinematic, puzzle-solving action-adventure that takes her from Paris to Istanbul. Though she's overwhelmed by "boy drama," she knows her quest is "way more important." Thrill as Avery's outfitted in Prada and Louboutin! Gasp as she jumps from a fire escape into a gunfight! Swoon as sexy Europeans fight for her hand!

This series opener won't win any prizes, but it will appeal to those who want puzzles and action mixed with their fashion and romance . (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-16650-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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A compelling mystery unevenly executed.

THE UNQUIET PAST

From the Secrets series

An orphan with visons seeks her past in a Gothic 1964 Quebec.

Sixteen-year-old Tess (for Thérèse) has always wanted to travel, but that doesn't mean she wants to be forced from her home. When the Benevolent Home for Necessitous Girls in Ontario burns down, she's turfed out with a bare-bones clue ("Each of you seven older girls has something from your past," explains the matron, linking this novel to the other six books in the Secrets series). Armed with a disconnected phone number and an address in rural Quebec, Tess braves the train, bothered only by the ghosts she's seen all her life. The address holds no easy answers to either her past or her visions; it's merely a photogenic abandoned mansion, filled with crumbling psychiatry books and long since ravaged by locals. Her investigation of the ruin is interrupted by a hostile squatter, who threatens her with violence. Jackson disbelieves Tess' tale though he refuses to explain his own secrets as a broke, filthy teenager who's exceedingly well-spoken in both French and English—often to the point of irritating pedantry. Tess' visions and their findings in the creepy basement lead her to suspect pulp-novel medical shenanigans, which themselves devolve into a frankly absurd deus ex machina conclusion. Unlike the cackling villainy of the back story, the realistic landscape of racist microagressions that plague Métis Jackson is heartbreakingly matter-of-fact.

A compelling mystery unevenly executed. (Historical fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0654-2

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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